German 2010 Photovoltaic installs climb to 714.7 MegaWatts through March

March Photovoltaic (PV) installs double to 328 MegaWatts-peak (MWp) from the February 162 MWp trough.
Setting up for a record Second Quarter.


I’ve been checking the Bundesnetzagentur (German Federal Network Agency) website almost daily for the release of the preliminary EEG related PV system registration data for March 2010. On the one day I was too busy to check, it was released. A kind reader alerted me to the event via email.

In the bar chart shown, German PV installations are segmented by system capacity for the first three months of 2010. The cumulative 714.7 MW installed between January and March 2010 surpasses the cumulative German PV installations in the first half of 2009.

In German Photovoltaic Feed-in Tariff Frenzy, I said:

With the extreme German winter season, the spring thaw is almost certain to be postponed until late April or May. I have to wonder what iSuppli was thinking when proposing a fourth quarter response to the April 1 FiT revisions in the dead of winter? “iSuppli forecasts impact of Germany’s FiT cuts in 2010” by Mark Osborne at includes a chart displaying iSuppli’s first quarter 2010 PV installation forecast of 200 MegaWatts (MW) in January, 300 MW in February, and a whopping 600 MW installed in March before the FiT reduction. I don’t believe the forecast is realistic even if Groundhog Day has a positive outcome.

Please note how unrealistic the original iSuppli 2010 PV forecast for Germany has proven versus the actual first quarter installations. I don’t believe the FiT reduction delay was a factor here.

March 2010 Registration Data
In addition to installs doubling, March registrations increased 158% to 16921 from 6552 in February. The capacity mix skewed towards rooftops with PV systems sized 100 kW (kiloWatt) and smaller representing about 78.7% of the March 2010 installs. The largest PV system installed was 7.12 MWp in Allmannshofen, Bayern, while the smallest was 225 Watt-peak (a single module?) in Leipzig, Sachsen.

With “Solarbuzz Raises Global Photovoltaic 2010 Market Forecast to 15.2 GW”, Solarbuzz also revised 2009 PV installations to 7.5 GW (GigaWatt) and said:

German market demand incorporates substantial volatility in quarter-on-quarter performance during 2010. This takes account of the uncertainty of policy adjustments in Germany that are planned for July 1 and also January 2011.

A 2010 market size of 8 GW in Germany is now in prospect, even taking account of a drop off in demand in Q3’10.

An 8 GW German PV market in 2010 will almost eclipse the accelerated 8.62 GW global forecast presented by Navigant Consulting’s Paula Mints in “Worldwide Solar Market: Review and Futurecast” at the February 17, 2010, Solar Forum held in Pasadena, California USA. I have not seen Navigant’s latest PV forecast.


  1. JoeJoe says:

    How reliable are these Jan-Mar numbers Ed? I’m not defending iSuppli (I think they throw a lot of darts actually) but I’ve come to expect late upward revisions in installation numbers.

    How are we to get to 6.5 GW (my personal guess) or 8 GW (my god what a guess) with this slow start? We’d need a bigger second half than first? Do you think that’s possible/probable? Is the seasonality that steeply skewed? What’s the word on the street?

  2. admin says:

    German first quarter PV installations have been historically weak because of seasonality and the annual FiT degression on January 1. The 2010 German winter was cold and snowy so ~715 MW is a feat.

    Q2 will be huge and I wonder if June trumps last December with close to 2 GW! My impression is the experienced German PV installer/EPC channel has developed a busy though sustained capability to install 1 GW of PV per month.

  3. Joe Berwind says:

    What can be said about the manpower, or better, the willingness of the industry to add it to realize growth that might not be enduring? The last I heard hiring in Germany is not a short term issue. I think your instincts are right on Edgar. I enjoy your work! Thanks!

  4. JoeJoe says:

    Sounds good Ed. I just read that BMU is estimating up to 8 GW. That makes my guess of 6.5 GW quite low. Meh… Lot’s of unpredictability left in the world so you never know. I’m worried about this install rate though – it’s not sustainable. Germany needs a way to moderate the growth of PV and they can’t rely on this yearly scheme they’ve been using – they need some sort of real-time mechanism to lower the rate. It occurs to me that a reduction per GW installed would be the obvious way to go but I’m not sure how difficult this would be to administer. That said, I think it would be well worth the effort. Something is clearly going to need to be done because they are way outside of their install window. Adjusting the structure of the FiT wouldn’t only be for the good of Germany either – it would be good for all the other countries setting up FiTs as well. Many parts of the FiT saga have been been relatively predictable. I figure a move over to a real-time ratcheting mechanism is the next step.

  5. Edgar, nice work again.

    Independent from your efforts I made a detailed analysis of the 2010 BNA numbers like I did for the 2009 BNA data (which, that should again be stressed here, are still not “definitive”, and could change as soon as BNA has cleared possible double entries – how many people are working there on this major tour de force?).

    I have split up the installation categories in more detail (10 categories) and made several graphs with different approaches to the ongoing developments.

    I will update that graphic webpage as soon as I can get hold of new BNA data.

    Edgar: I have serious “questions” pertaining to the “below 1 kWp category” I encounter in the BNA data. You quoted a 225 module “system” in Leipzig (in the March report, still a possible and not unlike entry that could – in theory – be fulfilled with, possibly, an underrated Stecagrid 300 Wp or perhaps with a Dorfmüller inverter). There is, however, an even more eyelid-raising 1 (ONE) Wattpeak “system” (!!!) reported from the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern village Kratzeburg on the Seenplatte, in the February 2010 report. Extremely unlikely (a joke?). The village is not very far from the 24,5 MWp installation of Finowtower near Templin… 😉

    There are more questionable entries in the monthly BNA spreadsheets with PV capacities far below the 1 kWp threshold.

    I do not think, however, that double entries, “missed” installations, (reported by both Solarthemen and Photon), and “false small” entries such as mentioned above will dramatically change the big picture now already clear from the BNA data. The next months possibly the Y-axis of our graphs will have to be adjusted upwards (strongly)…

    By the way, Solarenergie-Förderverein from Aachen had an article with respect to the recent BNA data, they skipped the former one (based on February report) and wrote an update:
    (“zeitlich überholt”)

    I think they are too pessimistic, but of course, things are a little bit going out of hand in our neigbouring Weltmeister in photovoltaics (I come from the bordering Netherlands, where things are not going well at all).

  6. brainfreeze says:

    Where did you find the data? I looked to do some checks but couldnt find anything on the Bundesnetzagentur page. Help anyone?

  7. admin says:

    The Bundesnetzagentur PV System registration page is in German only, and the web link has been changed a few times. Can’t a PV Blogger keep a few secrets? Enjoy!

  8. Now they are all going to make nice statistical overviews, Edgar… (tears…)

    Going to start a PV-price winning game? Who is making the nicest graphs of Bundesnetzagentur’s spreadsheets…

    There must be some companies Edgar has good contacts with that are willing to offer some nice prices, wouldn’t they? 😉

  9. April report has been published…

    449 MWp new for April only …

    … that’s almost four times as much as April in record year 2009 (that was 115 MWp) …

    … total new capacity now for the first four months (preliminary data BNA): 1.157 MWp, the first GWp mark of 2010 “broken” (German: “geknackt”).

    … 15 large installations > 1.000 kWp, the biggest one, somewhat surprising, Wertheim in Baden-Württemberg, 6,9 MWp .

    Now up to the next record month, BNA is catching up on the data.

  10. JoeJoe says:

    Ed… Do you know of a good document (english preferably but german is fine too) that breaks down the profitability of PV in Germany. i.e. A spreadsheet that a potential customer would look at with depreciation and taxes all laid out by year. I’m trying to build a spreadsheet that models the Levelized cost of Electricity, Net Present Value and Internal Rate of Return of PV in Germany. I’ve got most of the research and baseline assumptions out of the way but I can’t seem to get the accounting data to parcel correctly. All I need are a few simple equations to get my model working. Can you suggest a good place to look for German specific NPV/IRR data?

  11. JoeJoe: please ask Photon. They publish rentability tables on a regular basis in their German magazine (not on Internet, alas). Of course, things will complicate further, since this year only there are three separate degression steps (Jan. 1, July 1, October 1, followed by the “year degression” on Jan. 1, 2011) since Bundestag and Bundesrat have agree upon the slightly adapted EEG Novelle proposals by the Environment Ministry. Hence, each of the installation categories that are “accepted as ready for net integration” in those periods, will have to calculate with their respective feed-in tariffs (“Einspeise Vergütung”).

    Another complication is the “self-use” paragraph, leading to rather complex calculations including taxation pitfalls. Sonne Wind & Wärme (German) published an amazing “piece of work” on that one in a recent issue, 10/2010, page 152 ff.

    See image of contents on publishers site:

  12. JoeJoe says:

    Thank you so much Peter… You have an excellent site by the way… Your graphical info comes in handy in an argument. So you think I should just ask Photon straight up? Are they this generous with information? That would be refreshing.

    I will try.

  13. JoeJoe says:


    I wrote to Photon. What I really need is a German accountant who is familiar with these sorts of things, speaks English and has some spare time. I am willing to pay or trade for the information I’m looking for. I have been trying to get a hold of such an individual for the last few months while working out the parts of my modeling that can be finished independently. I’m not too concerned with the self-consumption paragraph. It seems like a trivial additional layer of computation. Who knows, those could be famous last words so shouldn’t get ahead of myself. Thanks for the suggestion. If you have others please offer them. Cheers

  14. JoeJoe
    Thanx for the compliment. It is very stimulating to do and to visualise the enormous market growth in, especially, Germany. A lot of work, though. If the native market (Netherlands) is growing like a slug, it is much more interesting to “do the stats” of the neighbours, who are running like nuts (Germany, Flanders, maybe UK a little bit coming out in the next years).

    Sorry, I do not know such an accountant myself. If Photon does not want to share their info they publish in the German magazine, you might also try Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft, the German branche organisation. Or maybe Photovoltaik. Or the active Solarenergie-Förderverein in Aachen. Or “the other” branche organisation, Deutsche Solar Gesellschaft. Maybe even the German Environment Ministry (BMU) would like to give some details (they are responsible for the EEG Renewable Energy Act, very interesting info at their erneuerbare energien subsite, partly in English).

  15. JoeJoe says:

    Thank you Peter… I found the data I needed this morning. Isn’t it strange how asking a question aloud makes you think about how to answer it yourself? All I had to do was search in German rather than English – duh! Why this did not occur to me before I do not know. Oh well… With the new info from today and the data which I have already collected I will be able to finish a descent prototype calculator that represents German conditions.

    I do have a few other questions that you may be able to help with.

    1. I’d like to know how the AVERAGE SIZE of German PV systems have changed by Quarter in the past. I want to go back as many years as possible. I’d like the information to be in tabular form (i.e. a spreadsheet). Is this info available? Where do you think I should I look?
    2. Is it typical for people to take out several loans to buy a PV system? I’m thinking about systems under 30 kWp.

    I cannot wait for the US solar market to take off. As you said, all of the interesting stuff is happening in Germany. I am thankful for the progress but hopeful that California and the rest of the states will get their heads straight and get things going here. Unfortunately, our policies are terribly terribly confused. I keep my fingers crossed. Sometimes I flip things off too.

  16. By pure coincidence I was notified of the May 2010 update by Bundesnetzagentur by a colleague. However, when I visited the site (just did it again), that update had vanished. After a second report by the same colleague, again, the update appeared not available. Luckily, my colleague stored the May spreadsheet…

    … of course, I worked that one out in the detailed approach already published by me. Here are the hard numbers and graphs (with English captions).

    The question remains: why did Bundesnetzagentur update and than quickly withdraw it? The spreadsheet (24.003 new entries…) seems to be complete.

    Well, never mind. If it will be republished, I will check if something has changed. The numbers are phantastic as always:

    New installations May 2010: 24.003 (accumulation new 2010: 75.274); new capacity May 2010: 562,8 MWp (accumulation new 2010: 1.726,7 MWp). With the net manager statistics verified by accountants and published by Photon on a yearly basis, total accumulated capacity in Germany might already approach 11,5 GWp (pending confirmation of published updates by Bundesnetzagentur). Considering that 900 kWh/kWp per year could be produced by this kind of installations ( reports over 4.000 German installations that produced, on average, 986 kWh/kWp in 2009), the yearly output of this accumulated capacity could well reach over 10,3 Terawatthours next year, possibly much more. And in the mean-time, of course, many more installations will come on-line, probably a record June. We’ll wait and see.

    I don’t know if the average size by quarter is “known” before Jan. 1, 2009. That is the date that any producer with an EEG PV installation claiming rights on the feed-in tariff fixed by law were first obliged to report their installation to BNA. Before that date, no such reporting was obligatory nor needed. However, the net managers have published enormous lists of EEG installations from which possibly those quarterly volumes could be extracted. That is, however, a considerable task. To my knowledge, the branche organisation BSW never has published quarterly updates (they have often produced far-to-low yearly volumes, not warmly welcomed by Photon and many others…).

    I doubt that many “ordinary” people will take more than one “loan” for their PV-installation(s) in Germany. However, never say never. I could imagine that in particular farmers with many roofs have “fallen” for the results of their first installation. Indeed, many have “erweitert”, and installed more capacity. I assume that they will have lent money for those separate expansions (a farmers’ roof could certainly fit into the <= 30 kWp range). This, of course, can only be done in a market with highly trusted and fixed, untouched long-term feed-in tariffs. Not so in Spain, where fixed tariff structures threaten to be broken open by the unreliable Ministry of Industry (maximisation threatening for the amount of kWh to be paid for with the feed-in tariff, but the rest paid only for very low market price, threatening existing investments).

  17. Slurry says:

    @joejoe: here is one model if u are still looking:
    (go to >Renditen >Zum Download and good luck with your Deutsch)

  18. Bundesnetzagentur May update is now [again] on their site.
    Hopefully it will stand firm…

    (doesn’t seem to have been changed, exactly the same total number and capacity, up till three comma positions, like I already reported…)

  19. JoeJoe says:

    Peter… Thanks for the reminder about system sizes not being identified until January of 2009. The link you provided to the data since then is awesome. Over 16000 systems installed in September of 2009!!! Amazing. The quarter data should not be difficult to extract. Some IF/AND statements in excel and shazaam!

    Slurry… Thanks for the link to this calculator. I’ve seen it before but never wanted to play with it… It’s a beast. Lots of words and formatting out the wazoo… This fellow is the Gaudí of photovoltaic spreadsheets. I’ll see what I can do with it.

  20. @JoeJoe

    I presume you did not fail to notice the 42.188 new installations in December 2009…. (average system size in that month only: 34,63 kWp…).

    You’d better brace yourself when trying to download the June 2010 or the December 2010 spreadsheets to be expected. If they fit on the BNA site…

    (Solarbuzz now calculates with 8 MWp new for this year in Germany only in their new quarter report, although they carefully name that “in prospect”) 😉

  21. JoeJoe says:

    Peter et al… The installation rate is impressive. Do you know what the rules are for the Self-Consumption tariff over 500 kWp? Is there a master law document that someone can point me to?

  22. Self-consumption renewed Act will only be applicable up till 500 kWp. Above that it is NOT valid (has changed a bit, in the struggle to deal and wheel between the cabinet parties, originally 800 kWp was suggested as a max, which has been lowered in the final proposals. The self-use possibility started on January 1 2009, with only max. 30 kWp, and a lot of incertainties were included, in particular with respect to taxation issues. BMU Clearingstelle and the Finance Ministry solved those problems, but up till now it has not been a great succes. Law text is not yet available, only a proof version, not legal.

    Many details [in German] on the self-consumption issue are given by Solarenergie-Förderverein in Aachen, one of the founding fathers of the German EEG regime. It is not easy stuff:

    EEG Novelle beschlossen (decision upon EEG Novelle 2010):

    Changes proposed (and accepted, with minor changes) for EEG text:

    Text of previous EEG 2009, the text of which will be changed by the EEG Novelle 2010 downloadable from:

  23. admin says:

    According to pv magazine: “Germany predicted to see three GW in PV installations in the first half of the year”.

    Does that put June 2010 PV Solar installs at ~1.3 GW? Will the 2 GigaWatts I predicted above for June happen?

    This is now the most popular post; it’s comment driven.

  24. Edgar A. Gunther says:

    Reuters: “Germany posts record H1 rise in solar capacity” claims 1.7 GW in June 2010.

  25. JoeJoe says:

    Here is another question. I’m almost done with my solar calculator. Here are my default assumptions so far. Some of these are based on sources while others are educated guesses. I don’t want these assumptions to be overly conservative or optimistic one way or the other. I’m wondering if any of these assumption are unrealistic. I’m specifically concerned with the start-up costs, the grace period and the financing terms. If anyone sees an obvious error please suggest a more reasonable value.

    Start-up costs = 3% of Installed Costs
    O&M = 30 €
    O&M Inflation Rate = 2%
    Generation per year = 850 kWh/kWp
    System Life = 30 years
    Self Consumption (Percentage = 30%
    Renumeration Rate Following Feed-in tariff contract = 20 ct/kWh
    Current Electricity Rate = .238 ct/kWh
    Electricity Inflation Rate = 2%
    Percentage Financed = 95%
    Length of Loan = 10 years
    Nominal Interest Rate = 2.95%
    Grace period = 0 years
    Payout = 95%
    Provision = 0.25%
    Linear Depreciation Rate = 5%
    Accelerated Depreciation Rate = 4%
    Discount Rate = 4.5%
    Individual Tax Rate (10 years) = 30%

  26. Edgar, thanx for the updates.

    I included a preliminary “all cumulation graph” into my 2010 graph stats page (first graph):

    Accumulation will probably have passed the 13 GWp barrier in June this year.

    Here are some extra links:

    Link to official German press release of Bundesnetzagentur (July 27, 2010):

    Surprising, immediate respons of German branche organisation BSW (learnt from the past?), claiming something like: If you still want to buy PV, “buy German” (or something like that, press release of July 28, 2010):

    Numbers that Bundesnetzagentur mentions in their press-release do not match with the ones I extract from my spreadsheet with all the BNA data. The “50.000 installations” claim for June would result in 125.274 new installations for the first half year, not 135.000. Also, the “160.000 installations last year” claim cannot be correct. My (BNA) data from July 2009 up till June 2010 (with 50.000 new installations) add up to 253.426 new installations, not the mentioned 160.000…

    Pertaining the “assumed” 1,7 GWp new capacity: that would be a new global record month, since December 2009 gave “only” 1,46 GWp new installations in Germany. August 2008 gave only 524 MWp new installed capacity in Spain (largest volume I know of in the data from CNE), hence June 2010 in Germany could triple that volume…

    I expect December to break all records with unknown margins (many large installations that have already a permit as of March 25, will not be claimed, I think, before that month. Hence: accumulation of huge PV monsters on top of the “normal” end-of-year rush…

  27. @JoeJoe

    Average production of certified metered German installations in Sonnenertrag database (4.300 installations almost) was in 2009 (not an exceptional year) 986 kWh/kWp in the whole year:

    So 850 might be on the short side. 900 might be a more representative value. Do not forget that half of all German installations are in sunny Bavaria (and a lot of others in neighbouring, also sunny Baden-Württemberg)…

  28. JoeJoe says:

    OK… I have been batting that value between 850 and 900 kWh/kWp. I was going off my gut feeling of system specs on I will change it to 900 for good. I will add your link to my reference section. Thank you.

  29. JoeJoe says:

    Here’s the current version of the Calculator I’ve been working on. I’m not sure if this thing really works yet but it’s getting there. I’ve never used this mediafire hosting site but I’m tired of trying to deal with torrent files so here it goes.

  30. JoeJoe:
    Your link is leading to error message on MediaFire site:

    ” Invalid or Deleted File
    The key you provided for file download was invalid. This is usually caused because the file is no longer stored on Mediafire. This occurs when the file is removed by the originating user or Mediafire.”

  31. JoeJoe says:

    Grrrr… I’ll email it to you.

  32. JoeJoe says:

    Did you get the calculator Peter?

  33. Yep, you did get my respone, I presume. Thanx for the phantastic work (way beyond my “economics-for-dummies” level of understanding…).

  34. JoeJoe says:

    I did not receive a response but I’m glad you like the calculator. I have to warn you I’ve already changed some of the post-FiT profitability calculations so the version I sent you is already old news. I’m still tweaking things here and there and working out another calculator that models US conditions. If you can think of anyone who could provide feedback please suggest them.

  35. Summary of history of German feed-in tariffs (as of 2004) and prediction of tariffs for 2011-2012 depending on EEG Novelle 2010 conditions (“highest growth scenario” >6,5 MWp/year) on my site:

    Including interactive, mouse-pointer-driven graph to show dynamics of the strong degression of the tariffs with each new period (don’t forget to deactivate page dynamics and script blockers on that page):

    Table with all the tariffs (including known BMU self-use tariffs, also in separate graph) included in the article (English throughout).

  36. More analysis of German PV-market.

    Article on SolarPlaza site. A contribution asked by them for their prequel to PVSEC, referring to calculations by industrial lobby organisation VIK that the EEG Umlage in Germany could rise to over 3,5 Eurocent/kWh in 2011. Presently: 2,047 Eurocent/kWh, already a pain in the ass of many industrial parties “not priviliged” with respect to the EEG fees to be paid. If true, potential for more shockwaves in German politics:

    And detailed analysis of year reports of BDEW, and some other fascinating documents by Environment Ministry BMU, with extensive graphic illustrations made from available public data. Full English text with market evolution in Germany, and cost and benefit deliberations:

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